Planning ahead to choose the best time to travel could help you avoid frustrating delays on the road this holiday season.
The NZ Transport Agency says motorists can do their bit by staggering their journeys outside of the busiest periods and checking the Transport Agency’s real time traffic information services for the latest updates on highway conditions.
“Roads across Bay of Plenty/Waikato are always busy at this time of year as people visit family and friends and there are often incidents that cause delays, but if everyone allows plenty of time for their journey, drives to the conditions and plans ahead before leaving home the worst of the frustrations can be eased,” says Niclas Johansson, the Waikato and Bay of Plenty State Highways Manager.
The Transport Agency has produced interactive maps showing the busiest routes and times over the Christmas and New Year holidays, these are available at www.nzta.govt.nz/hotspots(external link) (and attached).
“Data from previous years shows state highways will be busy throughout the middle of the day all the way from the 23rd of December to the 4th of January, with some particularly heavy times on individual routes and days,” Mr Johansson says.
Our hotspots information is based on previous years travel patterns. They are predictions and are subject to change based on weather or other factors, and we encourage people to check the travel section of our website or our social media pages so they can know the current road conditions before they start their journey:
Motorists can get real time information from:
For Waikato/Bay of Plenty updates
Or for an entire journey use On the Move(external link)
Bay of Plenty and Waikato Holiday and New Year congestion expected hot spots:
State Highway 2 Maramarua (east of Auckland motorway) is one of the busiest points on the network. Congestion starts to build eastbound from about 10am Christmas Eve and is at its heaviest from 3pm to 7pm. It remains busy from Boxing Day and gets a bit quieter on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Westbound traffic is heaviest from 11am through to mid-evening from 1st January to 4th January.
Northbound traffic on State Highway 1 Taupiri (north of Hamilton) starts to get busy from about midday on the 23rd of December and only quietens down on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and December 29th. Southbound is heaviest from mid-morning until around mid-afternoon from Friday 23rd December right through until Tuesday 3rd January (with a short quiet period on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day).
State Highway 1 Karapiro (south of Cambridge) is busiest for eastbound traffic around Christmas Day, Boxing Day and Tuesday 27th December lunch time. You’ll also notice an increase in traffic if you’re heading southbound later in the afternoon from Tuesday 27th December until Tuesday 3rd of January.
State Highway 2 between Paeroa and Tauranga is busy with eastbound traffic from late morning Boxing Day until late afternoon. It stays busy until New Year’s Eve but leaving early in the morning should avoid the busiest time. Westbound traffic is heaviest between 11am and 3pm on Tuesday 27th December. Motorists take a short break on Wednesday 28th December but then things pick up again until 4 January.
State Highway 29 Kaimai (west of Tauranga) eastbound you’re most likely to face delays on Christmas Eve from about 3pm, again on Christmas Day through to Tuesday 27th December mainly through the middle of the day, and again on 2nd January. Westbound is busiest on Christmas Day morning and the middle of the day on the 2nd and 3rd of January.
Other places to watch:
State Highway 30 and State Highway 33 intersection at Tikitere, State Highway 5 and State Highway 36 intersection at Ngongotaha and State Highway 2 Katikati.
Construction and road works that may affect your journey
To minimise delays most road works on major projects are paused through the holiday period and won’t resume until the 9th of January.
SH3 Mokau – the slip that has previously reduced SH3 to one-lane just south of Mokau has been re-opened to two lanes for the Christmas Holiday period. There is a 50km/h speed limit that will remain in place through the worksite.